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I take a tumbler with an ounce of water and add a teaspoon of salt to it and then add this salty water mix to the curry or dish I am preparing at the moment. I repeat with lesser quantities of salt with each iteration until the dish tastes good. However this approach means adding salt multiple times, before the salt feels right. Not that repetition is bad, but I find people who sprinkle salt either by years of experience or by muscle memory tend to be much better with salt.

What approaches do you follow for adding the perfect amount of salt?

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    You what? Why would you add salt to water to add to a dish? Just add the salt, taste, repeat until you're happy with the flavor. Salt is very personal. :-) Aug 28, 2012 at 22:43
  • I must admit that I am not as patient as my mother who knows every single time how much of salt to sprinkle. Most of my dishes are Indian curries. So adding a bit of salted water is not too bad. If I don't use this technique, I find it difficult to make distribute the salt evenly in some of those potato or cauliflower pieces.
    – Animesh D
    Aug 30, 2012 at 18:05
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    @Animesh - salt will dissolve (and redistribute) if there's even the tiniest bit of moisture in a dish. Sprinkling helps it happen faster, as does waiting a bit to give it time to dissolve, but it will distribute pretty evenly with basic mixing. I suppose salt water is better if you don't want to mix much for whatever reason, though (foods that will break down to flake or mush if over-mixed).
    – Megha
    May 20, 2017 at 14:17

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Perhaps I am not entirely qualified to answer this post, but as someone who was taught to cook (by my mother) mostly without recipes, when it comes to dishes like curries or stews, salt is simply 'to taste.' This, however, is always with the added note that you can always add more salt later, but taking it out of a dish that has been over saturated with it is a hassle, if possible at all. So just start with a sprinkle and taste, adding more as you see fit.

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Probably the most important part of my kitchen is the large jar of salt by my cooker, an ever present reminder to season lightly, but season often. I'm assisted in this discipline in that the jar has a very shallow spice spoon, capacity probably just under 1/2 a teaspoon, which makes it very difficult to over-salt a dish and forces me to come back every so often.

To flavour a dish with salt properly, it is essential to appreciate that it is best transferred into whatever you are cooking via absorption of the liquid or stock. Take two dishes, say rice. One is cooked without salt and the salt sprinkled on afterwards. The other dish is cooked in salted water. The second dish will taste considerably better, as the salt will be distributed evenly throughout. The other dish will be bland and tasteless with the occasional burst of flavour.

So what I tend to do is to lightly season at every stage of the cooking process, tasting as I go. Frying some onions? Add a touch of salt. Adding some chicken? Make sure it is seasoned before it goes in the pan or season it as it is added. Obviously, you don't want to taste the uncooked chicken, but you get the idea. Whenever you add ingredients, it then becomes second nature. Just remember to add a little seasoning at each stage

What is important though is to realise that some ingredients are more "Salt tolerant" than others. Potatoes and rice for instance, will require more seasoning than bacon or olives. You will pick this up with experience, but if you season lightly and frequently, tasting as you go along, you will not go far wrong and your dish will be well balanced and flavourful.

As one chef once commented (I can't remember who), it is totally unforgivable not to taste a dish for seasoning prior to serving. That is the very least one can do, even if you have forgotten or skipped seasoning throughout the cooking process.

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